Learning from one another’s breastfeeding journey is invaluable, it is an ideal way to learn some handy tips, offer reassurance to one another and offer breastfeeding support to mamas nationwide! We’d like to say a big thank you to mum, Lucie for sharing her breastfeeding story with us today…
“I was looking forward to breastfeeding before I even fell pregnant. I imagined myself to be one of those ladies who'd be comfortable and confident feeding anywhere. I looked forward to gazing into my baby's eyes and feeling that incredible, natural, unbreakable bond between my baby and me. Unfortunately the universe had other plans for my breastfeeding journey….
I had planned my birth carefully, use of the pool, hypno-breathing, the ultimate calm, peaceful and stress free environment. What I ended up with was the polar opposite. My waters began to go, very very slowly on the Saturday morning. We headed in Saturday night and I was induced via the drip by 6am (my worst nightmare). Labour progressed well until I reached 5cm, where unfortunately I stayed. Baby was stuck and thought to be back to back so I was sent for an emergency c-section. This was brilliant and I was in recovery within the hour, feeling amazing.
My beautiful boy, Arthur latched immediately, I couldn't have been happier! My dream was coming true, but things started to change. He soon struggled to latch, bobbing, thrashing, head-butting and getting himself seriously worked up at every feed. I requested help from the midwives to be told he had a 'great latch' but I knew things weren't right. On my second night in hospital A fed for 3 hours straight, desperately trying to encourage my milk in, but he would just not be satisfied. He was crying, I was crying. I couldn't give my baby what he needed and I was devastated. A midwife arrived and whisked him away, he had a cup feed with formula which broke my heart, but I was too exhausted to do anything.
The same thing happened the following day – the day we were due to go home. This was when I first experienced expressing! The HCA wheeled in a huge yellow Medela pump, the Symphony hospital-grade breast pump, and got me hooked up. I expressed 3oz from each side straight away! Arthur was fed using a cup and for a few hours we were all happy.
I had bought myself a Medela Swing Breast Pump before A was born (it was an Amazon deal of the day) and I figured I wouldn't have to use it until I went back to work- but it turns out it was a Godsend! A continued to find latching really difficult and he would get himself in a screaming state regularly, so I would express and bottle feed. Every time he took the bottle, it broke my heart. He did have some successful breast feeds, but it was painful, exhausting and not the amazing experience I'd so longed for.
After 9 days of horrific feeding and an 8% weight loss, I called in a breastfeeding consultant who immediately diagnosed Arthur with a severe tongue tie. No one had noticed this but when pointed out it was obvious! We had it cut privately within the week and it was LIFE CHANGING!
As soon as the procedure was complete, A fed in the cross cradle position (for the first time ever), it was painless and made me cry happy tears! I consider this day, when he was 15 days old, the real beginning of our journey.
Arthur is now 12 weeks old and is mostly breastfed. I'm still not comfy breastfeeding in public which breaks my heart and I don't have the emotional attachment to feeding that I had so longed for, but when he looks at me with that milky drunk smile or his huge blue eyes, it makes me so glad I persevered.
He does have 2 formula feeds a day and I'll add a new one each month to prepare for me going back to work, but I love that he's now piling on the weight, is happy, healthy and meeting his milestones and that's down to me and my milk. I'm now expressing once or twice a day to freeze breastmilk, (filling the freezer so much that my husband's grizzling as he can't fit in the frozen shopping) ready for when I'm back to work or decide to finish feeding. I enjoy my pumping in front of the telly, knowing it's just a little bit more of me for the baby.
My journey was not remotely as I'd imagined. I was so close to giving up, but it's my journey nonetheless. No one tells you how hard it can be and that it might not be as you thought. But even giving your baby a drop of your milk is better than nothing. If I have another baby, I'll definitely feed again and hopefully knowing what I know now, it'll be perfect.
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